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SMALL BUSINESS GETS A SLICE OF THE DEFENCE FUNDING PIE The Sunshine Coast Council identified the region’s seven high value industries in early 2017, but HeliMods founder Will Shrapnel says it may not be long before defence industries can join the likes of agribusiness, clean technologies, health, sport and tourism, education, aviation and knowledge to become the eighth.

Helimods, which employs around 25 fulltime staff and specialises in developing mission systems and equipment for helicopters, was among the first Coast business to capitalise on the Turnbull Government’s $200 billion, 10-year commitment to defence. It follows the release of the 2016 Defence White Paper and the subsequent Integrated Investment Program and the Defence Industry Policy Statement, which is effectively encouraging the military to move away from prime defence (multi-national) contractors to support Australian SMEs with innovative solutions to the military.

Local businesses can consider the defence industry as a great way to diversify their supply options

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Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace led several forums and industry workshops at the University of the Sunshine Coast throughout 2017. The first attracted more than 150 local businesses with the aim of kickstarting a drive among Coast enterprises to secure a slice of the defence spending. Helimods was recently recognised for their contribution to the Sunshine Coast manufacturing industry at the 2017 Sunshine Coast Business Awards where they took out the awards for Excellence in Innovation, Employee of the Year, Business Person of the Year and the big award, Business of the Year. HeliMods has invested a lot of time and effort over the last five years to become defence ready and begin tendering and competing for defence work. Their efforts were finally recognized earlier this year when HeliMods was awarded a $154,000 contract to manufacture 14 aircraft cabin wet decks for Navy's MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopters.

A wet deck reduces a protective floor liner that reduces an aircraft cabin floor’s exposure to salt water and surface wear caused by search and rescue operations and equipment.

HeliMods fits the bill perfectly - they are an absolute shining light on high tech industry on the Sunshine Coast. Mr Shrapnel says although the contract is small when compared to their civil contract work, it is substantial in that it has provided the business with an opportunity to show the Australian Defence Force what they are capable of. “I have been actively involved with the forums and workshops at the university. Local businesses can consider the defence industry as a great way to diversify their supply options to give them more resilience to market up-turns and down-turns that can have a

Caloundra BUZZ Summer 17/18  

Caloundra Buzz magazine provides the Chamber's members and the local community with current information on events and business achievements...

Caloundra BUZZ Summer 17/18  

Caloundra Buzz magazine provides the Chamber's members and the local community with current information on events and business achievements...

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